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The Smithfield Marketplace Guide on How to Bake a Ham

About Hams & Ham Cooking/Preparation Directions

| Preparation | How to Cook | How to Carve | Serving Tips | Storage | Choosing a Ham |

  • If you have selected a fully cooked ham, further preparation is unnecessary. Just slice and serve.
  • If your ham is uncooked, you should soak before cooking, since these hams are dry cured. Soak Smithfield Hams or Country Hams twenty-four (24) hours or longer. Change water every four (4) hours.
  • The length of soaking time is important and should be influenced by your taste for salt (longer soaking results in milder ham).
  • After soaking, wash ham thoroughly with a stiff brush to remove all pepper and mold, if present.

How to Bake Your Ham

  • Wrap in heavy duty aluminum foil, joining the edges carefully to form a vessel with the bottom layer. Add 5 cups of water for a Smithfield Ham within the foil and place in oven with a tray or pan underneath for support.
  • Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Once oven temperature reaches 500 degrees, bake the ham for 15 minutes. Turn off oven for three (3) hours. Then heat oven to 500 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes. Turn off oven and let ham remain for 6-8 hours or overnight is satisfactory.
* Important: To ensure that your ham is properly baked, do not open oven door until the cook cycle is completed, including the last 6-8 hours.

  • Place in a large roasting pan, skin-side down and cover with cool water.
  • Bring water to 180 degrees (not quite simmering). Cook to 160 degrees internal temperature (or about 25 minutes per pound). Add water to keep ham covered.
  • Take ham from the pan and while warm, remove the skin carefully without tearing the fat. Dot the surface with cloves if desired, then sprinkle with brown sugar and bread crumbs and bake in an oven for 15 minutes at 400 degrees (or long enough to brown nicely).

How to Carve a Baked Ham

To bring out the delicate flavor of your Smithfield or Country ham, you must slice it very thin, using a very sharp knife (preferably long and narrow). If you have selected a boneless ham, just begin slicing at the small end of the ham and serve. Smoked Hams are carved in a similar manner, but may be sliced slightly thicker, if preferred. Caution: Please be careful while slicing ham to avoid personal injury.

Bone-in Ham

There are three easy steps to elegantly carving your Bone-In Ham:
  • With ham on a flat surface, dressed side up, begin about two inches from the hock (or small end) and make the first cut straight through to the bone.
  • Slant the knife slightly for each succeeding cut. Slice down to and partially around the bone.
  • Decrease slant as the slices become larger. Eventually the bone formation will cause you to cut smaller slices at different angles.
Whole Spiral Sliced Ham

This product is already fully cooked and we suggest that you serve it at room temperature. If you like it warmed, please heat in your oven at 325 degrees and bake the ham for 12 minutes/lb.  Please do not overheat this product because it is already fully cooked. An over-baked ham will come out very dry.

Start by cutting slices off the large (butt) end of the ham. After a few slices you'll run into the first of the spiral cuts. Then make cuts along the natural seams of the ham's surface parallel to the bone. There are three easy steps remaining:
  • Cut along the natural seam on the top (as it faces you), extending knife point as far back into the ham as you wish to remove slices and then down and to the left, parallel to the bone, exiting at the natural seam.
  • Then make a second cut along the top (where the first section was removed) parallel to the bone, around to the right and exiting at the natural seam.
  • To remove the final section, cut down to the right, parallel to the bone until the section is free.
You are now ready to serve and enjoy your Whole Spiral Sliced Ham.

Serving Tips

The flavor of a Smithfield or Country Ham is best when served at room temperature. These hams can be served in a variety of ways. Sliced ham is delicious on biscuits or pan-fried and served with "red-eye gravy." Or use pieces of ham or a piece of bone in soup, beans or vegetables.

Storing Ham For more great ways to enjoy your ham, try one of the many recipes featured in any of the cookbooks featured in our store. All would make an excellent addition to your recipe and cookbook collection.

Choosing a Ham

Not sure which of our distinctively flavored gourmet hams your tastes would prefer? Follow this simple guide for how to buy a ham for great tasting flavor - start to finish.

Our Genuine Smithfield Hams - A long cut ham with the most distinctive pungent flavor and salt content. Best when sliced paper thin. These hams are dry salt-cured, slowly hickory smoked, and aged for six months to one year.

Another member of the Genuine Smithfield family of hams is our Charles Henry Gray "party ham". Sliced across the top "party style" and seasoned with the secret family recipe. Just heat and serve.

And the Jordan's Virginia Ham - Curing, smoking, and aging is the same as the Genuine Smithfield Ham - the difference is that after brown sugar is added the ham is baked well-sauced with wine glaze.

Smithfield & Williamsburg Premium Country Hams - A milder flavor, short cut, hickory smoked ham that should also be sliced very thin. This too is dry salt-cured, but with less salt content because the curing process is shortened and aged to a minimum of three to six months.

Smithfield Lean Generation Pork - Designed for the health-conscious consumer, Smithfield Lean Generation is up to 97% fat free. In fact, several items carry the American Heart Association HeartCheck Certification.

Smithfield Premium Pork - These smoked hams are the most tender, with the mildest flavor, and much lower in salt than the dry-cured country style hams.
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